A strong team is the backbone of your company. If you’re still piecing together your dream team, try these strategies to create and maintain a dependable, trustworthy team:
1. Maintain a relationship with reality
The surface reason most businesses fail is because they run out of cash, but expert entrepreneurs say the cracks in the foundation will start to show long before the money runs out. The questions are, are you paying attention and do you know what to look for?
Denial is an expensive way to lose your business. It’s also a common way of operating in the world of business. According to the Harvard Business Review, denial is the primary reason 10% of American companies go belly up each year.
Who are your star employees? Who isn’t pulling their weight? How many warnings are you going to give that friend you hired before cutting them loose? What’s stopping you from acknowledging what isn’t working?
In business, reality is harsh. You can’t create or maintain a dependable team unless you’re willing to acknowledge what doesn’t work, make changes, and stand up for your company’s goals.
2. Create a padded budget for hiring talent
Does your overall budget include capital for hiring your dream team? If not, it should. When looking for startup business loans, you need to make sure your loan will cover the cost of hiring talent at competitive wages. Don’t calculate payroll costs too low. Presume you’ll need to hire several A-players at a higher-than-average wage, because at some point you’ll find a gem. If you can’t afford them, you’ll lose them to the competition.
3. Change how you accept resumes
Do you want to spend 30 hours each month deciphering 1,000 resumes and figuring out who to call? Or would you rather spend 30 hours taking brief five-minute appointments with applicants to accept their resume in person and get a feel for who they are?
To ensure you’re always in compliance with state and federal employment law, consult your attorney before implementing any change in your hiring practices. With that said, run this idea by your legal counsel:
Until you’ve got a solid team, request all applicants to drop off their resume and job application in person by scheduled appointment. You’ll have a better sense of who’s a good match for your team when you can interact with them from the start. You might need to accept applications and resumes without appointments, so make it a request, not a requirement.
Test the commitment and integrity of your applicants from the beginning. Requesting all resumes to be dropped off in person at a scheduled appointment time will weed out people who are unreliable or don’t want to place importance on every step of their job search. I
By requesting applicants to make an appointment to drop off a resume in person, you send the message that the job is important and you are committed to meeting people in person.
4. Test your interviewees for connection with the team
The most important employee trait isn’t skill, it’s how connected they are with the team. Talented people who don’t play well with others don’t get anything done because teamwork is about collaboration.
Set up a test for everyone you interview to gain insight into how they’ll fit in with your team. For example, say you’re looking to fill a marketing position. During your interviews, invite the other marketing team members to sit with you and have a conversation with the applicant as if they’re part of the team. Present a dilemma to your team, and ask them to solve the problem.
Don’t prepare your team ahead of time. That wouldn’t be fair. Let the conversation occur naturally. Tell the applicant you want to see how they think and how they mesh with the team. If they need a whiteboard, paper, a laptop, or something else to help them come up with ideas, give them all the tools they need.
Pay close attention to how they respond to having their ideas rejected, and how generous they are with acknowledging others for their contributions. An ideal candidate will be focused on finding the solution, not having their ideas praised.
A dependable team won’t bail
A dependable, trustworthy team consists of strong leaders and committed employees who are willing to navigate the ups and downs of a startup. Create a team that won’t bail on you, and instead, will offer support to help recover from the inevitable mistakes every startup is bound to make.